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Why we enjoy sad movies according to psychology

Why we enjoy sad movies according to psychology

Although going out for drinks with some friends may seem like a productive way to overcome depression or melancholy, sometimes we prefer to stay at home with a sad movie. For some reason (that you will discover next), dwelling on that sadness makes us feel better. But is it really healthy?

According to psychology, it can be healthy and there are at least 4 reasons that explain why many people enjoy movies that make them cry.

Night at The Movies
Photo by Georgia Vagim / Unsplash

People experience their emotions through sad movies.

Watching sad movies as well as listening to sad music or remembering past events can be therapeutic. It can be a healthy habit if the person is looking for a good cry. However, watching sad movies shouldn't be the only way to express your emotions if you are having a hard time. There are plenty of other methods such as writing a diary, talking to a close friend or even following a therapy.

It creates a feeling of empathy and bonding with the characters.


Identifying with a character in a movie is a way to experience empathy. Movies can help us better understand some situations or people in our own lives. They allow us to confront real issues by experiencing ‘reality’ in a safe distance on the screen because our emotional responses feel real. Observe people (even fictional) with the same problems (or in worse situations) can make people feel less isolated in their own struggles. Some people enjoy sad movies as a way to reflect on their problems.

Sad stories make people feel better about their own lives.


Experiencing sadness in a movie can make people feel a little better because they are able to make the difference between what is going on in the movie and what is really happening in their own life. Sad movies offer viewers an outsider’s perspective, which can help combat their unresolved issues.

Science proved that watching a sad movie makes us happier.


There are physical benefits of a good crying. One study has demonstrated that watching sad films boosts endorphin levels in your brain and increase pain tolerance (physical and emotional).

While watching sad movies can be therapeutic, it is not for everyone. If this is your case, you can try meditation or yoga to help you connect with your emotions.

And you, do you enjoy sad movies?